Pediophobia: The morbid fear of children or dolls.
If you suffer from this, you shouldn’t read this book.
However, if you have a demented inner child that needs to be entertained, then this book is definitely for you.
Attic Toys, edited by Jeremy C. Shipp, is a collection of short stories, all based around the idea of killer toys or killer children or killer attic spaces, mostly from the horror variety, with some noticeable exceptions being the stories from Piers Anthony and Mae Empson, which are more like grown-up fairytales.
There’s not a stinker among these stories, and all entertain in some form or another. While I enjoyed a couple of stories a little less than some others, this was more according to taste rather than any actual problems with those stories. And that’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy all of them. In different ways, they all satisfied the need to entertain my own demented inner child. A personal favorite was “The White Knight” by Aric Sundquist, which follows the adventures of a young boy and his rival/companion, a stuffed cat.
As I mentioned, noticeable exceptions to the horror theme were “Living Doll” by Piers Anthony and “The Tea-Serving Doll” by Mae Empson. These were interesting changes of pace that were curious additions to this collection. While they stuck with the “toys and attics” theme quite well, the tone of these stories was different enough to change the pace and almost give the reader a short breather from the other more twisted stories. In addition, the quality of the writing is so high that I can understand why exceptions were made.
I can find no significant flaws with this short story collection. All these stories are fun and disturbing in their own ways. If killer teddy bears, psychotic children, and haunted attic spaces appeal to you, then you will love this book, and the styles and stories are different enough that everyone will come away with a favorite among them. However, if you are a sufferer of pediophobia, you might have trouble sleeping at night.
Attic Toys earns five childish screams out of five.